We’ve all heard that too much highly processed, refined sugar can have devastating effects on your metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases. This is no joke… Here’s why:
• Sugar = tons of calories with no essential nutrients. All it does is cause tooth decay by literally feeding harmful bacteria in your mouth!
• If you eat high quantities of refined, processed sugar but do not exercise you are at risk for the fructose derived from an excess of sugar to get lodged in your liver and cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
• When you consume too much sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can lead to diseases like metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.
• An excess amount of sugar can have a devastating effect on your metabolism, which is now known to lead to cancer.
• Sugar is highly addictive because after ingestion it causes a huge release of dopamine in your brain.
• Sugar is a major contributor to heart disease, which is the number one killer in the world.
I like to teach healthy eating, but I also want you to enjoy life. You don't have to be afraid to eat sugar every once in a while, but what many people don’t realize is that there are healthier, alternative sweeteners out there that won’t damage your health as much and taste just as sweet, if not more! I have seen many of these sweetners in more and more products readily available at grocery stores. Keep checking those ingredient lists!
So what are some of these high quality sweetener alternatives to processed sugar?
1. Stevia—a plant used by the Guarani people of South America for more than 1500 years:
• Tastes about 300 times sweeter than table sugar
• No calories, no impact on blood sugar and may reduce blood pressure
• Make sure to buy only 100% whole leaf stevia… look for RebA
2. Xylitol—a sugar alcohol that is neither sugar nor alcohol but is actually an organic compound:
• About the same sweetness as table sugar
• Comes from a non-GMO plant source
• Low in calorie and no effect on blood sugars
3. Erythritol—also a sugar alcohol like Xylitol
• About 70% as sweet as table sugar and tastes just like it
• It is 100% erythritol
• Nearly non caloric, doesn’t spike blood sugar and is easily digested
4. Coconut palm sugar—from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm:
• Same sweetness as table sugar
• Look for labels that say coconut sugar, coconut crystals or coconut palm sugar
• Has a low glycemic index and contains some nutrients and fiber
5. Agave—produced from the leaves of this Mexican succulent plant
• It is about one and a half times sweeter than table sugar
• Make sure to buy organic agave
• It lowers the glycemic index more than table sugar does
6. Honey—bees, bees, bees...:
• Slightly sweeter than table sugar
• Buy raw, local and organic honey
• Can help boost immune system and seasonal allergies and soothe sore throats
7. Lucuma powder—produced from this subtropical fruit native to South America:
• Sweet, maple flavor
• Make sure it is 100% lucuma powder
• Can help boost immune system, no effect on blood sugar and contains nutrients
8. Maple syrup—made from the sap of sugar, red or black maple trees:
• About 3 times sweeter than table sugar
• Buy organic pure grade B maple syrup
• Lower fructose content than table sugar but don’t be fooled, it’s still sugar.
9. Monk fruit (lo han gou)—made from a green melon that grows in the mountaintops of Asia:
• About 200 or 300 times sweeter than table sugar
• Buy pure monk fruit or pure lo han gou sweetener
• Non caloric, no impact on blood sugar and may be anti-inflammatory
If you'd like to read a post about sweetners that are terrible for your health, click here!